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Travel Guidelines and Procedures

University of Central Missouri Procedure

Procedure Name:  Travel Guidelines and Procedures

Date Approved:  Approved by the President on January 29, 2007 Effective July 1, 2007, Revised April 15, 2019

Procedure Category:  Financial

Date Effective:  Effective April 15, 2019

Policy Authority:  Board of Governors Policy 1.2.040

Date Last Revised:  April 15, 2019

Approval Authority:  University President

Review Cycle:

Responsible Department:  Chief Financial Officer



Travel Guidelines and Procedures Index

1. Introduction

The University of Central Missouri is extensively involved in a variety of dimensions of domestic and international travel.  Faculty, staff and students are involved in both individual and group travel that results from the many University-related programs.  The guidelines set forth herein represent a concerted effort to clarify policies and procedures relative to all University domestic and international travel.  Further, it is the desire of the University to make the guidelines available to all members of the University community, so they may understand them.  Any exceptions to the following guidelines must be authorized by the Vice President of Finance and Operations.

2. Definition of Allowable Travel Expenses

Allowable travel expenses are those expenses authorized and incurred while transacting official business away from the work site.  “Work site” is defined as the location where the employee normally reports to work or as otherwise designated in an applicable position description, offer letter, or contract. Basic allowable expenses may include such items as business meals, transportation, lodging, and registration fees for conferences and workshops. The University and its employees have an obligation to be good stewards of the limited funds available and should exercise the fiscal responsibility in incurring University travel expenses. Budget managers have the authority to reduce approved travel in response to budget constraints.

3. Pre-Authorization for Travel

Overnight travel requires the “Travel Pre-Authorization Form for Overnight Travel” to be completed by the employee and authorized by the employee’s immediate supervisor prior to any costs (e.g. airfare) associated with the trip being incurred.  After the trip is completed, the “Travel Pre-Authorization Form for Overnight Travel” must be submitted to Accounts Payable along with the employee’s Cardholder BPC Transaction Log and/or the Travel Expense Summary Form with receipts.  The link to the “Travel Pre-Authorization Form for Overnight Travel” is found at the Accounts Payable website.  

4. Conference Registration Fees

You must use your UCM BPC for conference registration fees unless you are not a cardholder.  If you pay a registration fee directly with personal funds and request reimbursement, your receipt must accompany the request.  Registration fees can also be paid by your supervisor or office manager with their BPC card, or by submitting a “Payment Request Form” to Accounts Payable with the appropriate supporting documentation.  A University check will be issued directly to the vendor.  Please allow enough time (at least 10 business days) to process the “Payment Request Form” and have your registration received by the deadline. 

5. Lodging

Lodging accommodations are to be arranged and paid for by the traveler and shall be in reasonable relationship to their average cost for the cities where the expenses are incurred. The University utilizes the daily lodging per diem information posted by the United States General Services Administration (GSA) as a guideline of a reasonable lodging cost for the desired destination. It is recommended that employees utilize the same information to determine reasonable rates for lodging. The GSA link can be found by accessing the University’s Accounts Payable website.

Travelers are expected to secure the most economical rate from the hotel.  Some hotels and motels grant favorable conference rates and/or other special rates to governmental employees. Travelers are urged to check the availability of special rates and take advantage of them.

A copy of the University State Tax Exemption Certificate should be furnished to hotels/motels, in Missouri only, to eliminate the Missouri state sales tax charge. The UCM website link for the University State Tax Exemption Certificate is on the Accounts Payable website.

A hotel’s internet access fees are reimbursable provided the access is required for University business.  Lodging receipts are required to be filed with the employee’s University Cardholder BPC Transaction Log and/or the Travel Expense Summary Form to document the trip as business travel for IRS purposes.

6. Meals - Overnight Travel

6a. Meals - Overnight Travel (Business Travel, Conferences, and Seminars)

For overnight travel, actual food and beverage expenses up to a maximum of $57 per day are allowed.  ($57 per day includes a reasonable gratuity and taxes). For meals at Missouri restaurants (excluding fast food restaurants), a state tax exemption certificate needs to be provided to the restaurant at the time of ordering.  Every reasonable attempt should be made to have Missouri sales tax removed from state purchases.

If an employee does incur a full day of travel, a maximum of $57 per day can be allocated among all food and beverage purchases regardless of the individual meal limits as long as the total does not exceed $57.

Receipts for purchases over $10 are required to be submitted with the Cardholder BPC Transaction Log and/or the Travel Expense Summary Form. 

If an employee does not incur a full day of travel, then the following meal limits apply per individual meal:

Breakfast $12
Lunch 17
Dinner 28
Total per Day $57

Any meal expenses submitted for times when a conference meal was provided at no cost will not be reimbursed. 

6b. Meals - "Same Day" Travel

If an employee is out-of-town on University business for a period of eight hours or more, the employee is eligible to be reimbursed for food and beverages at actual cost but not more than $25. Meals within a 30-mile radius of the employee’s residence or work site will not be reimbursed under the travel provisions.

6c. Meals - International Travel

Meals for international travel will be reimbursed at their actual cost.  Since there are no limits on international travel meal expenses, receipts are required to be submitted with the Cardholder BPC Transaction Log and/or the Travel Expense Summary Form.

6d. Business Hospitality Meals

“Business Hospitality Meals” are reimbursed at actual cost.  “Business Hospitality Meals” are defined as:

  1. Meals with university guests, consultants, or candidates, with university business being discussed.
  2. Meals that are incurred as part of a seminar, conference, or required meeting that is presented by the University.

A restaurant or catering receipt with the following supporting documentation to prove the “business hospitality meal” is a true business expense is required before reimbursement can occur:

  • The date of the meal.
  • The name and location of the restaurant.
  • The amount of the meal.
  • The business purpose of the meal.
  • The number of people served.
  • The identities of the persons who took part in the entertainment or business discussion. (Invitation list, registration list etc.)
  • Occupations or other information (titles) about the meal recipients that show their business relationship to the University (candidate, donor, etc).
The above information needs to be included with the Cardholder BPC Transaction Log and/or the Travel Expense Summary Form or Payment Request form and submitted to Accounts Payable.

6e. Meals - Alcoholic Beverages

The purchase of alcoholic beverages is generally non-reimbursable by the University.

7. Transportation

The Traveler should ensure that the most economically available mode of transportation, which will satisfactorily accomplish the University business, be used. The cost center budget manager is responsible for reviewing and approving travel arrangements that result in the most reasonable expense to the University.  Reimbursement may be limited or denied for uneconomical choices of transportation.

7a. Air Transportation

For out-of-state travel, use of commercial airline is the preferred travel mode. Travel plans should be made, when possible, to allow for purchase of a ticket 21 days in advance of the actual business trip.  The lowest cost class airfare that allows the traveler to select a seat should be obtained.  Business class is acceptable for flights of 4 hours or more. First class airfare is not acceptable unless documented with HR that it is required for disability accommodation or medical reasons.   

Electronic ticket receipts are required to be submitted with your Cardholder BPC Transaction Log and/or the Travel Expense Summary Form.  If that is not possible, submit the web page printout or confirmation letter that is e-mailed to the employee. It is important that documentation is submitted that shows the name of the person traveling, the destination and the cost of the ticket.

It is recommended that employees use their BPC to purchase airline tickets.  If the employee uses a personal card and the trip is canceled, the employee may be financially responsible for the cancellation and other service fees due.  For purchases using the BPC, vouchers are expected to be used for future business travel.  Use for personal travel will result in the employee owing the University the cost of the ticket and associated fees.  If the cancellation is due to the employee terminating their employment, the University will deduct the cost of the ticket and associated fees from the employee’s final paycheck. 

Airplane internet access fees are reimbursable provided the access is required for University business.

Employees are expected to use economy parking lots at the airport and other locations, so long as the business need of the trip is met.

7b. Personal Automobile/Mileage Reimbursement

UCM follows the State of Missouri Vehicular Travel Policy (SP-12) as it relates to mileage reimbursement. The maximum mileage reimbursement will be the current rate authorized by the State of Missouri.  This rate represents full compensation for the costs of operating your vehicle.  When the State of Missouri updates its mileage rate, the UCM mileage rate will be updated at the Accounts Payable website.

When more than one person travels in the same privately owned or leased vehicle, only the employee financially responsible for the vehicle may receive the reimbursement.

Mileage is to be computed over the most commonly traveled route and will be reimbursed from and to the work site or residence, whichever is less.  To be fully reimbursable, the cost of driving a privately-owned vehicle shall not exceed the equivalent cost of the most economical means of transportation available. Employees are not required to use privately owned vehicles for out of town travel and may utilize a rental car even if personal mileage would be more economical.

7c. Rental Cars

Employees should utilize Enterprise Rent-A-Car.  In certain instances, when Enterprise car rental services are not available, employees may use a car rental agency other than Enterprise such as Avis, Budget, Hertz, etc. 

The state of Missouri has contracted with Enterprise Rent-A-Car for the use of rental vehicles by University employees. Please note that Enterprise is the only car rental agency that can direct bill to the University.  For the Enterprise direct bills, please provide Enterprise your name, department name and UCM account number.  Also, present a copy of the UCM Missouri State Tax Exempt Certificate.  Upon returning to the office, please mail Accounts Payable (Admin 316) the Enterprise receipt with the correct Banner account coding on the receipt. 

All Enterprise reservations, either local or out-of-town, should be made using the Enterprise link on the UCM website.  All renters must be UCM Faculty, Staff or Student employee, at least 21 years of age, and have a valid driver’s license and University ID.  Consideration should be given to the number of people traveling when determining the appropriate size of rental vehicle.

The renter is responsible for ensuring the vehicle is returned with a full tank of gas or the University will be charged Enterprise’s rate for replacement fuel.   Employees may use their UCM BPC for gasoline purchases and are required to submit the gas receipt with the University’s Cardholder BPC Transaction Log.  

Further information regarding rental vehicles may be obtained by calling Procurement Materials and Management at extension 4001.

7d. Vehicle Insurance Coverage

The state’s rental agreement with Enterprise-Rent-A-Car includes comprehensive and liability coverage for employees on official business.  If driving a personal vehicle, employees should refer to their personal insurance policy to determine the applicability of their coverage when the vehicle is being used for business purposes.

7e. University Vehicles

For large groups, a University-owned vehicle may be available for regional travel unless circumstances and conditions make the use of other types of transportation more advantageous to the University.  Reservations for a University vehicle must be made in advance by calling extension 4331 in the Physical Plant office.  The appropriate departmental Banner FOAPAL (Fund, Org, Account #) will be charged for vehicle mileage at the appropriate current rate.  

7f. Use of Privately Owned or Rental Aircraft

Reimbursement for the use of privately owned or rental aircraft may be made at the current authorized rate for privately owned automobiles plus 4 cents per mile. The mileage to be reimbursed will be determined by the number of air miles. When more than one person travels in the same aircraft, only the employee who owned or rented the aircraft shall receive the mileage allowance. All airplane rentals or usage must be approved by the appropriate dean or associate vice president in advance of booking.


8. Travel Agencies

The University does not have an "official" travel agent. Employees are free to choose the travel agent they wish to work with or make reservations directly via online service or contacting the airline/hotel directly.

It is now common practice for travel agencies to charge a fee for their service. Employees should be aware of this fee.  Employees should weigh the fee and other benefits provided by the travel agent against the expense of doing the travel research on their own.

9. Family or Companion Travel

Family or companion travel expenditures are non-reimbursable by the University and therefore should not be charged to your University BPC or included in group travel billed to the University. 

10. Miscellaneous Reimbursable Expenditures

(Receipts are required for miscellaneous expenditures over $10 )

  • ATM fees incurred for business purposes.
  • Business telephone calls.
  • Conference materials such as books and other resource material.
  • Currency exchange fees.
  • Freight for shipping materials or equipment to and from conferences / seminars.
  • Highway and bridge tolls.
  • Internet usage fees for business purposes.
  • Parking fees.
  • Tips for baggage handling or maid service.
  • Local transportation (shuttles, taxis, Lyft and Uber)

11. Generally Non-Reimbursable Expenses

 The following items are generally not reimbursed by the University:

  • Alcohol.
  • Charitable or political contributions.
  • Companion expenses (including travel, meals and additional driver costs on rental cars).
  • Costs incurred at home, such as childcare, pet care or lawn/home maintenance.
  • Costs incurred due to unreasonable failures to cancel transportation or hotel reservations.
  • Excess baggage charges for personal items (i.e. golf clubs, skis).
  • Fines for parking or moving violations.
  • Laundry services (if trip is less than five days).
  • Life, flight or baggage insurance.
  • Lost or stolen personal property (including cash).
  • Mini-bar items.
  • Movies, golf, other personal entertainment.
  • Personal expenses such as haircut, toiletries, clothing, etc.
  • Personal reading material.
  • Unnecessarily excessive costs (i.e. very expensive restaurants or exclusive hotels) not warranted by the circumstances.

Note: This list is not meant to be all-inclusive.  Other items may be deemed non-reimbursable upon review.

12. Cash Advances

University travelers are encouraged to use their University BPC Card. However, there will be certain circumstances where employees will need to utilize a cash advance. Following are the cash advance procedures:

a) Advances may be made for group / team travel.

b) The group / team coach, leader or sponsor may request advances.

c) Advances are not to exceed estimated expenses.

d) Requests for the advance of travel funds must be approved by the appropriate Budget Manager and submitted to Accounts Payable on a University Payment Request form.

e) The approved Payment Request form must reach Accounts Payable at least ten workdays prior to the date the check is needed.

f) Approved UCM Travel Expense Summary Forms completed for group travel should be submitted to Accounts Payable within 10 workdays of returning from the trip.

g) The UCM Travel Expense Summary Form needs to itemize all reimbursable expenses and be approved by the Budget Manager. Receipts as required by the UCM Travel Guidelines must be attached to the UCM Travel Expense Summary Form.

h) If the expenditures equal the cash advance, a transfer of funds from the designated departmental budget will be used to clear the advance.

i) If the expenditures exceed the cash advance, a transfer of funds from the designated departmental budget will be issued to clear the advance and out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed via an electronic fund transfer directly to the employee’s designated bank account.

j) If the expenditures are less than the cash advance, a transfer of funds to the designated departmental budget will be used to clear the advance, with the remainder being repaid by the employee at the Accounting Services office within three working days after completion of the trip.

k) Failure to follow the above guidelines and / or clear cash advances in a timely manner could result in future requests being denied.

13. University Business Procurement Card

13a. Introduction and Eligibility

The University has contracted with Bank of America to provide a business procurement card (BPC) to its employees.  Travel expenditures on this card will be charged directly to the University. 

Do not use the card for personal, family, or household purposes.  

Employees who incur $1,000 or more travel annually are eligible to receive the BPC. 

If you are declined at a vendor that you believe is a valid travel vendor, contact the UCM Accounts Payable Travel Card Coordinators, at extension 4700. 

When travel expenditures are incurred on the card, it is the employee’s responsibility to submit a copy of the BPC card statement with the appropriate receipts to Accounts Payable. 

13b. Application for UCM Business Procurement Card

  • Select UCM BPC Application Form.
  • Complete all requested information on the UCM BPC Application Form.
  • Read the UCM BPC Cardholder Agreement.
  • Print the UCM BPC Application Form, sign the form acknowledging you have read and will comply with the terms and conditions of the UCM BPC Cardholder Agreement.  
  • Obtain your Budget Administrator’s signature on the UCM BPC Application Form acknowledging his or her authorization of your card’s “monthly cumulative” credit limit as designated on the form.
  • Mail the authorized UCM BPC Application Form to the Travel Card Coordinator, Administration Building 316. 
  • The UCM BPC Coordinator will approve and forward the application to BOA for issuance of the travel card.
  • Prior to receiving your card, you will be contacted by the UCM BPC Coordinator to attend a mandatory cardholder training.
  • The employee will be able to pick up their card from the UCM BPC Coordinator upon completion of the cardholder training.

13c. Your Responsibility for the UCM BPC

Carefully read the cardholder agreement you receive with your card.  Your responsibilities include:

  • Promptly notify the UCM BPC Coordinator at extension 4540 and BOA at 1-888-449-2273 if your card is lost or stolen.
  • When you end your employment with UCM, turn in your BPC to the UCM BPC Coordinator in Administration 316.  The UCM BPC Coordinator can be contacted at extension 4540.
  • Submit the BPC Transaction Log and your receipts to Accounts Payable using the following procedures:
  1. Upon receipt of the Cardholder BPC Transaction Log, collect all receipts as required by the UCM Travel Policy and attach the receipts to the Cardholder BPC Transaction Log. These receipts are required by the IRS for determination of whether the travel expenditures are business related and reasonable. 
  1. Complete the UCM Cardholder BPC Transaction Log which documents the date and purpose of the travel for IRS purposes.
  1. Insert the BPC statement, UCM Cardholder BPC Transaction Log and receipts into the preprinted “UCM BPC Expense Envelope”.
  1. On the outside of the “UCM BPC Envelope”, document the dates and business purpose of the travel.
  1. Sign the BPC Envelope and submit to your Budget Administrator for his or her authorized signature. The pre-addressed envelope can simply be dropped in inter-office mail for delivery to Accounts Payable. 
  1. BPC Envelopes are to be submitted within 10 days after the end of the month.

13d. Lost or Stolen BPC

If your card is lost or stolen, call BOA at 1-888-449-2273 immediately.  The card will be canceled and a new one issued.  Also, contact the UCM Card coordinator at extension 4700.

14. "Out-of-Pocket" Travel Reimbursement

In some cases, a University employee may incur personal funds for travel and seek reimbursement (e.g. mileage reimbursement).  For reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenditures, the employee should complete a UCM Travel Expense Summary Form which can be found at the UCM Accounts Payable website.

The UCM Travel Expense Summary Form must include the employee’s Banner “7” number and Budget Manager’s signature before payment can be processed.  Please note the University processes all employee reimbursements as electronic funds transfers.  This is beneficial to both the university and the employee as it is a convenient and cost-effective method of payment.  The following page summarizes the procedures for “out-of-pocket” reimbursement.

14a. Process for "Out-of-Pocket" Reimbursement

  1. Complete the UCM Travel Expense Summary Form.  The UCM website where this form can be found is 
  2. Each item over $10 on the Travel Expense Summary Form must be supported by a receipt in order to receive reimbursement.  Please staple your receipts to the Travel Expense Summary Form when it is submitted. 
  3. We recommend you make a photocopy of the Travel Expense Summary Form and all receipts for your records. 
  4. The employee and employee’s Budget Manger must sign the Travel Expense Summary Form prior to submission to Accounts Payable attesting that the expenses listed on the form are legitimate and in compliance with the UCM Travel Policy. 

Submit the Travel Expense Summary Form and accompanying receipts to Accounts Payable in Administration Building 316.  Expenses should be submitted within 60 days after the end of the month in which expenses are incurred.  Failure to submit expenses within this time period could result in denial of expense reimbursement.


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